Why do we do this? We do it because of the media monster that looms large. Advertisements, for the most part, only talk about one aspect of the truth. The thrill of new threads, the shine of that new car. The sensation of acquisition. Do you know what I am talking about? And we buy into this and believe this and we don’t think about the reality of the product. We don’t think about payment books as thick as this Bible right here. We don’t think about all the money it will take to pay for this item we just impulsively bought. Another reason that we have a tough time with our spending is due to those plastic piranhas, those credit cards.
If you would, please take out a credit card from your wallet and just hold it up. Credit cards are really interesting because they come in an array of colors. Our names are engraved on them. They tell us how long we have been a part of the club. And for some reason we don’t think that plastic money is real money. Flash them around for a second. See, aren’t they pretty? And when we pay with credit cards it is kind of a painless thing. The sales clerk just takes it and runs it through a computer, gives it back to us and we sign it and thank her for her help. We think that everything is A-OK until we walk out to the mailbox. We get the bill and have a financial chill. Are you a budget-busting blue light spender?
The first thing that the Holy Spirit does is this. He assists us in making pre-arranged choices. That is very important. Don’t miss it. You see, the essence of discipline is climbing before cruising. It is fighting the uphill battle, so we can enjoy the downhill success. But the key to practicing discipline is pre-arranged choices. It is making decisions before you get into the area in which you need discipline. And that is very, very important.
Ed Young says for example, let’s take the physical domain. Diet and exercise are very important to me. Intellectually I know that I have got to eat properly and that I have got to work out. About 95% of the time, I do a good job. The reason I am so concerned about my health is because my father had some heart problems about 10 years ago. When I talked to the cardiologists and nurses, they scared me. I said to myself that I had better get serious about my health. Intellectually I know that I have to eat properly. For example, Friday night my family and I walked into a Mexican restaurant called Eduardo’s. I love Mexican food. The music was playing. The chips arrived right away. Beef fajitas, queso, flan. Let me stop right here. If I had waited to make my decision to eat healthy when I was sitting down in Eduardo’s, I would have messed up.
You are pretty conservative and all of a sudden when you see something that your really like, whoom, you are on it.
Do you see yourself in any of these? I see myself in some of them. Well here is the remedy for stupid spenders. The remedy is to live by the give, give, live plan. Now I want to give you some practical steps to jot down on how to do that.
1. Make your finances a joint decision, please. Don’t keep your spouse in the dark. Don’t pull the wool over their eyes and say, “OK, I am going to take care of the finances and I am not going to show you what is going on financially speaking.” That is wrong. That is a sin. You need to fully disclose where you are financially with your husband or your wife. Do that. If you don’t do it, you are really messing up. You are going to cause some problems and tension in your marriage.
2. Set some goals. Set some goals in spending. Set some goals in saving. Set some goals in giving. Set goals financially.
3. Pray about your finances. Sit down with your spouse and say, “Honey, let’s pray about this.” Pray a prayer like this. “God you have given us everything. And we want to become good stewards of your money. We are here just to manage it for awhile. Help us and show us what to do Biblically speaking in our finances. “
4. Learn as much as you can about Biblical money management. You know, for years Christian financial consultants have been talking about the 10,10,80 plan. Give 10 to God, give 10 to yourself and live on the rest. We are very serious about money management here at the Fellowship of Las Colinas. We teach, regularly, a financial freedom seminar.
There is something in fighting that is really interesting. There is something called the tale of the tape. When you go to a boxing match, the tale of the tape is kind of an overview of the fight. It compares the fighters fist size, rib size, waist, record, punches. It tells you what is going on. It is a synopsis of the battle. I want to give you over the next few moments that remain, the tale of the tape for this series. Now I am just going to brush over a couple of things that we will talk about in the ensuing weeks as we look at the state of the union of our marriages or, for the singles here, our future marriages . So having said that, let’s jump right in. I want to talk to you about three crucial components to a world championship marriage.
The first crucial component is increase your intimacy. God says that He wants you to have a great marriage and He says throughout His word, increase your intimacy. I am going to do something that I have received permission to do. I am going to read you a love letter written by a man who is in this crowd to his lady. This is some hot stuff here. Are you ready? I won’t tell you who it is to, I will just read. “I dream about you every night and I think of the day when I will be able to see you in person and tell you how much I love you. Princess, with every beat of the clock, my love grows for you…..” Now, I won’t read the rest of it. Take a wild guess who penned that letter. I did. I wrote that letter to my wife years ago.
Ed Young Pastor remembers the 1960s, Jack Warner, the last of the five living Warner Brothers, sold his entire stock for $640 million. A reporter asked Jack Warner, “Mr. Warner, how many friends do you have in the entire world?” He replied, “I do not have a single friend on earth”. You see, he was very wealthy. He was very rich, yet he was poor. He didn’t have a true friend. Statistics tell us that loneliness is the number one emotional problem that we deal with. The top best seller over the past century behind the Bible is, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. We’re made for relationships. We have to have true, authentic friends. Ed Young encouraged us to read the Bible.
Ed Young Sermons mentioned when God, in the book of Genesis, created the heavens and the earth, He said, “It’s good”. When God made the plant life and the animals, He said, “It’s good”. Then God made man in His own image and He said, “It’s very good”. But then in Genesis chapter 2 verse 18 God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone”. It’s not good for man to be alone; we’re relational creatures. So what did God do? Ed Young Ministries answers that God took the initiative and created other human beings and He’s given us this desire for relationships.
I have to answer, now, a couple of questions. Why do we have trouble with intimacy? I will tell you. Most of us enter the most relationally intensive union known to man with underdeveloped communication skills. We have gone to college. Some of us have masters degrees, some even doctorates and we know about the arts, sciences and history yet we don’t know how to communicate on an intimate level with our spouse. You see, men, the same speech you use with your golfing foursome won’t work with your wife. Do you ever feel that way? We will talk about those skills in this series. Another reason that we have trouble with intimacy is because we don’t realize the work it takes. Remember when you were dating? Remember all the romance capital you invested in that relationship? Romance and intimacy take work; scheduling work, prayer work, childrearing work, discipline work. It takes work.
Boxers are notorious for retiring and coming out of retirement, aren’t they. They do that all the time. And a lot of us are in retirement, romantically speaking. We have our romance museum. We say, “See those trunks over there? I wore those when I was romantic. See those gloves over there? See that cologne? Oh, yeah, I had it together.” God wants us to come out of retirement.
How do you do it? I want to give you two challenges. Number one. I want you to make every session for the next month because this information from God’s Word can make your marriage into a championship marriage. It can change the course of your life. Number two. I want you to do all of the homework. Here is your homework assignment.
When you wake up and smell the coffee you say that he would rather be out with the guys than with you. Men, you might say in the kissing stage that you have finally found someone who is refreshingly naive. When you smell that coffee you say, I have married somebody who doesn’t have enough line on her reel.
Let’s talk about the third stage of romance, the metamorphosis stage. That is after a couple of years, or maybe ten years, your husband changes from Tom Cruise to Chris Farley. Husbands, you see your wives transform from Tyra Banks into Rosanne. Then from the metamorphosis stage we move into a very serious stage, the swan dive stage. That is when so much animosity and resentment builds up that you walk out on the end of that diving board, curl your toes and realize that it is decision time. You say to yourself that you can not live with him (her) so you do a swan dive into your work, your recreation, childrearing or illicit relationships outside the marriage. Others, though, look at the option and they see how far the dive will take them and they turn around and walk back down the diving board, scale down the ladder and ask God for His help to do it His way. That is our prayer for you. We have a lot of marriages here that need to hear God’s word.
Here is what the Bible says about marriage. Ephesians 5:31. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh.” Talk about intimacy. The Bible describes it as a oneness and that is God’s plan. And next week we will spend the entire session talking about sex, about romance and about intimacy.
Now some of you would think that when Lisa and I met it was love at first sight. You might believe that our romance and intimacy have grown exponentially every month for the last 20 years that we have been together. If you are saying that, nice guess but no cigar. Lisa and I have a great marriage. However, our marriage has gone through certain stages. I want to share with you some stages of romance that relationships find themselves in.
The first stage is the kisses and the roses stage. You remember that, don’t you? It is when you are smitten with love. You are infatuated. You can’t be with this person enough. You make futile attempts at poetry, you take her out to incredible restaurants. Ladies, you are continually daydreaming about him. Remember those half hour kisses? All couples go through this. I have conducted hundreds and hundreds of weddings and I have seen the look, during that first stage of romance.
The second stage of romance is the wake up and smell the coffee stage. That person who you once thought you could never get is now the person you can never get rid of. You discover this is not some kind of two year contract with a one year option. You are in it for life, Jack. And you are going, WHOA. You might have said something like this. You see in the kissing and roses stage, a man might say he loves her because she is so neat and clean. When he wakes up and smells the coffee, he says she is so compulsive she even irons my socks and boxer shorts. Ladies, in the kisses and roses stage you might say he is so relational, he has so many friends, you just love that about him.
Our next one will be on April 29 at 7pm in Room 700. It will be taught by our Business Administration Pastor. We will provide you with many helpful facts and money management techniques. For example, if you are having trouble with credit cards, you have two options. Either cut them up or pay them off every month. That is just one example. We want you to become a great money manager. But don’t leave this service and say that the goal is for you to become financially free. Yes, it is a goal but it is not the ultimate goal. If you think that is the ultimate goal, you have missed it. Financial freedom is a goal, but the ultimate goal is having the time, the energy and being out of bondage financially so that you can better love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, body and you can better love your neighbor as yourself. We want to get financially free so that we can use our gifts to better serve God.
So how about it? How about it? Become checkmates. Become one financially speaking and God will free you up to be used by Him in a way that can revolutionize your generation.
Conversely, we have some marriages here that are great marriages, I mean marriages that you could write books about. But there is help in this series for you , too. A lot of people here are unmarried. You are single adults and you are wondering how these messages will relate to your life. Studies show that over 90% of singles will get married. And, singles, you desperately need this information because you need to know as much as you can prior to walking down the wedding runner. So this series is for all of us as we talk about how to build a stronger and more God-centered marriage.
They go to NorthPark, Irving Mall, Vista Ridge. They have time to shop and so will go and spend some money. If you have that much time, please come by our church office. We have so very many tasks for you to get involved in. Then you will be able to use your gifts and abilities in the ministry. Recreational spenders.
Another spender, the fifth, is the image spender. I know that we don’t have any image spenders here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, do we? You have to buy a certain watch because your peers wear that watch. You have got to have your yard landscaped like your neighbors. The list goes on and on. But the moment you get that watch, the moment you landscape the yard, someone else has something better and nicer and newer. It is a formula for frustration. You will never get up to the Jones. You see a lot of us are too worried about status. I define the word status as keeping stats on us. God doesn’t do that and you shouldn’t do it either. God wants you to be content. That is being peaceful and joyful at where you are. It is not being lethargic or laid back. It is being goal oriented and visionary. Just say, “God, I thank you for where I am right now. If I remain in this state for the rest of my life, I praise You and I love You.”
The sixth stupid spender is the special interest spender. This is the person who stays by the budget for the most part. But then the person has a weakness. It could be antiques. It could be hunting. It could be even fly fishing. You just blow the budget when you are around these certain items.